Top Jobs that pay for a college degree
Some surveys have found that more than 40 percent of undergraduates work more than 20 hours a week, but that doesn’t mean keeping up with school and work is easy. You may be looking for a job that offers flexibility, or you may be looking for a job that you can do in your spare time. Jobs in retail and service industries may be an option, but it’s worth considering other avenues of employment.
With many jobs going virtual and employers likely to focus more on skill sets than current degrees, you may have the flexibility to find jobs that don’t require a degree.
Some employers may even be willing to pay a portion of their employees’ college tuition as part of their benefits package. Here, some other avenues to consider:
First stop: Office of Career Development
Your school probably has a career development office, and it’s worth stopping by—even if you’re not sure “what you want to be when you grow up.” The Office of Career Development may have leads, including on-campus jobs, that you can explore.
They can also look at your resume, make suggestions on where your college town might be hiring, and connect what you’re doing now to any careers you might be considering. They may also know about co-ops and can connect you with students who are currently working on gigs you’re considering.
Part-time jobs to help pay for college
Finding a part-time job or finding a side hustle can help students pay for their tuition. These jobs offer flexible hours so that students can work according to their class schedule.
Some colleges allow approved internships to count as class credit, so if you’re concerned about balance between school and work, a co-op might do the trick.
Don’t want to work during the school year? Summer is a great time to focus on career-enhancing internships without distracting from your coursework.
Getting a paid internship can be competitive, so apply early and make sure your application is convincing and complete. Internships can provide valuable learning opportunities, and some of the best-rated internships can even lead to full-time employment.
You’ve been studying hard, and now it’s time to put all this newfound knowledge to good use. You may be paying for your education, but there are also people who are willing to pay you to share what you have learned.
Consider mentoring other college students or younger students in your area of expertise. Rates will vary based on location, subject and your level of experience.
Many small businesses or entrepreneurs may be looking for someone who can answer their emails, perform odd jobs online, and provide administrative support. You can look for these gigs online or through your school’s professional development office. Before you take on a role, it’s important to know what the expectations are: are they looking for someone who is available at certain times, or can you do everything on your own time?
Babysitter or caretaker
If you’re looking for flexibility, a nanny might be another option. If you’re worried about work conflicting with your school schedule, you can schedule weekend or evening work. As a bonus, you can carve out time to study while your little one is asleep.
Caregiving is not limited to small children. You might find a meaningful role working with an elderly or sick person in need, whether it’s daily tasks or running errands, chores, or even just keeping someone company while shopping.
Walk the dog
For someone who works 9 to 5 and needs someone to take care of Fido, daytime flexibility means everything. Consider working for a walking service instead of doing it yourself: it may offer guaranteed hours or jobs, so you can get to know the dogs you work with.
Hitchhiking or delivery
Driving a ride-sharing service or performing delivery duties is a good fit for college: You can make the job fit your schedule, and you can make a lot of money. But it can be helpful to know what you’ll be registering, know any regulations about the type of car you can drive, and know how to manage expectations. It’s also helpful to talk to locals to find out – national income surveys can be very different in your area, and it’s helpful to predict how much demand you might have before you sign up.
Focus on the places you frequent
Whether you’ve been in the gym or enjoy the outdoors, find an opportunity that will allow you to do more of the things you love. See if your favorite coffee shop is hiring or inquire about job opportunities at your favorite yoga studio. Even if they don’t have gigs, some small businesses offer “service swaps” where you can get free classes on some easy jobs. Worth asking!
Start a side business
Selling earrings online? Become a social media sensation? Starting a business is now easier than ever. But “easy” doesn’t mean effortless. While you can do momentum posts from your phone, you do need to allow time, startup costs, and expenses to make things work.
But talk to other student entrepreneurs and see how they handle the demands of school and become their own boss. If you sign up for any of the programs as an ambassador, salesperson or independent consultant, read the fine print and understand what is expected of you before you commit.
Companies to consider paying for tuition
Part-time work may be an option to help you pay for college, but what if you could find a job that not only paid you a salary but also paid for your tuition? There are some large companies that offer stipends or reimbursement for things like college tuition or books.
But before applying, make sure you fully understand the tuition reimbursement terms. Some companies may have tuition caps. It is also important to consider how you will balance your studies with full-time or part-time work. Talking to employees who have done it, or looking for stories on social media, may help you better understand how the program works and whether it makes sense in your life.
If you’re looking for a job, consider asking your recruiter or human resources department if tuition assistance is available. They may be able to pay for certain courses if they are relevant to your career path, or may offer less publicized educational benefits to employees. Because employers are fighting for talent, they may add perks to entice potential hires.
Full-time employees are eligible for up to $3,500 for undergraduates and $5,250 for graduate programs.
Comcast provides tuition assistance as part of its benefits package.
Smucker’s employees may be eligible to participate in the company’s tuition assistance program. Smucker’s also offers select scholarship opportunities for employees.
At Publix, employees who work an average of 10 hours per week after six months of continuous service are eligible for the company’s tuition reimbursement program.
There’s a reason Starbucks is often front and center on these lists: They partnered with Arizona State University (ASU) to create the Starbucks College Achievement Program, which provides 100% tuition toward first-time bachelor’s degrees earned through ASU online programs cover. All employees who are eligible for benefits, including part-time employees, can take advantage of the program.
If employees do not qualify for admission to ASU, they can participate in the Admissions Pathway Program, which will help them gain tuition-free admission.
Think about your first off-campus job
Another perk of working while in college: You can figure out what you want (and don’t want to do) for a living. It’s also helpful to evaluate certain job paths, including what they might pay an entry-level employee.
While there are always lists of the most lucrative majors and the least lucrative majors, the truth is that your major doesn’t necessarily determine your career path. Talk to alumni, your career development office, and people a few years out of school to give you the lowdown on their career path.
Talent is in high demand right now, and employers are likely to boost compensation packages — even for entry-level employees. It is also important to consider not only your salary but also the possible benefits. For example, some companies offer help with student loan repayments, which can pay them off for you. Household names such as Penguin Random House, Aetna, Live Nation and Fidelity Investments offer loan forgiveness assistance programs for their employees.
It can also be helpful to use some of the money earned during undergrad to save for the future. That way, you’ll have some wiggle room when you graduate. Having a budget and living within it can also go a long way in preparing you for life in the “real world”.
Part-time gigs can help students pay for college. Some companies may also offer tuition reimbursement or assistance programs for part-time or full-time employees pursuing higher education. These programs may have specific requirements, such as working a certain number of hours per week at a particular school, so make sure you understand those.
When money from jobs and federal aid isn’t enough, some students may consider private student loans. Private lenders are not subject to the same regulations as federal student loans, and therefore, don’t always offer the same borrower protections or benefits — such as income-driven repayment plans. This is why they are often seen as an option after all other sources of financing have been exhausted.